U.S. authorities that accused six JPMorgan Chase & Co. employees of rigging precious-metals futures are building a criminal case against the bank itself, two people familiar with the situation said.
The previously unreported investigation of the global bank’s parent company, part of a wide-ranging federal clampdown on market manipulation, raises the prospect of criminal charges and significant fines against America’s largest bank.
No formal accusations have been made against JPMorgan. A bank spokeswoman, Jessica Francisco, declined to comment and pointed to company filings from last year disclosing that the Justice Department’s Criminal Division was investigating “trading practices in the metals markets and related conduct.”
How the probe proceeds from here is likely to be watched closely. Relatively few big-bank prosecutions have come to light during the Trump administration, compared with a spate of big penalties and guilty pleas for banks under President Barack Obama. The Justice Department declined to comment.
Investigators at the Justice Department and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission are at least two years into their examination of trading on JPMorgan’s precious metals desk, one of the people said.
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